parkruns and mountains

Reporting in from France with a bit of a catch up.

Like all my trips to France there is always a plan and this one was no different.

Initially my on route plan included Bushy parkrun and catching up with my brother but this went to the wall so Maidstone became the place to go with the plan of arriving at the train earlier therefore making the initial drive down France easier.

Jogged down to the parkrun start with Em and discovered it was their anniversary so lots of fancy dress which made it very colourful. I checked out the course and it was a mix of terrain underfoot but largely flat with an uphill finish. My only concern was about the narrowness of the path with dog walkers and runners as it was an out and back. Why am I bothered? I had decided to have another go at sub 17. Quick chat at the start and I found 2 others looking for a fast time so off we went, about 3/4 of a km in a chap came passed me but I felt good so decided that I would push the 16.50 pace and at this point I was clear and it was a Time Trial. The twisty bridge was not good for constant pace but allowed me to see the gap I had to the others and then the canal on the way back. I’m not overly talkative when running 3.20 or so KM pace so nearly ran smack into a few runners with IPODS on and heads down. I was polite but curt in my comms. Once clear it was just a case of driving the line, I was very impressed with the sadistic uphill finish but even more impressed to see 16.46. Really think 16.30 may be possible if I can stay healthy.

Afterwards I jogged down the course to cool down clapping people in and saying sorry if I had offended anyone. I did hear somebody muttering about having fun but people have to realise fun for some is attempting to remove your heart from the body via your rib cage without surgery. Everyone has a place at parkrun and as much as I have to be aware/considerate of slower runners they should also be aware of people like me.

Great event run by a good team, I’d like to go there again and have time to sit around and drink coffee.

3 sub 17 parkruns in a row on 3 different courses, safe to say up to 5km distance I am not far from where I was in 2008 and I like that.

Onto France and I wanted to do something different so decided to travel down the other side, Le Man is a place I want to go and see either car or bike racing but for this trip I just wanted to go there. Stayed in a place called Alencon with plans to ride to Le Man and crack on but as I walked into the hotel I saw a sign for a bike museum so my ride was cut short and done in the dark early. Turns out that although no mountains it was a rolling ride, welcome to France!! The museum was small but interesting and I left with classic bike lust so well worth the visit.

We then moved to Volvic, yes that Volvic and I can honestly say I may have to visit the region for 3 or 4 days at some point as my limited ride told me there were roads and Cols to get lost on. Em also got her second taste of running with me. (Don’t worry we can run downhill for 20 mins then back up) :¬) It went well and I plonked a few kms on the end as well. What a fabulous hotel and view. Popped to the source of Volvic and did the Le Puy de Dome which had an electric train therefore stopping cars going up the mountain. Done to protect the mountain but just made it a great way to enjoy the view over time.

It was time to head “home” after that which was less than 4hrs in the car. The drive down had been nicely broken up and very relaxing. Home in France is Le Velo Jaune where Lynne and Alan always make me feel very welcome. Obviously on arrival there is only one priority and that is the first ride up Alpe d’huez. There is no easy way up AdH on a bike but by bend 2 I noticed I was putting out good power and decided to keep the effort up. I only had a rough idea when I started as I didn’t reset the watch but by halfway I knew a PB was on if I held form. Last year I blew somewhere after half way from a similar start but not this time, even strong winds could not stop me as I finished way inside 53 mins for a HUGE pb and I felt so good I carried on to the official finish going sub 59 mins to there as well. I shall try again on the last day to see if mountain work improves me a little more or if I am too knackered to put the effort in :¬)

Looking at the numbers afterwards proves the value of power to weight, all this just so I can race better this season, I can live with that. I say all this as my weight monitoring is obsessive if I am honest but I know how badly I can eat so until I get true balance I feel I have to do this.

Exciting times ahead for sure.


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